Brooke Skylar Richardson was charged with reckless homicide Friday after the remains of her newborn baby were discovered in her backyard.
Richardson, an 18-year-old cheerleader from Ohio, reportedly claimed the baby was stillborn, but was charged after analysis of the remains showed it “was born alive and was not a stillborn baby,” according to Warren County Prosecutor David Fornshell. Lieutenant John Faine of the Warren’s County Sheriff’s Office said that while the remains were uncovered earlier this month, evidence suggested at the time of the discovery they had been buried for two months.
A tip from a doctor’s office led authorities to make the discovery.
“Law enforcement is continuing to treat this as an ongoing investigation,” Fornshell said.
The prosecutor’s office is still waiting on the coroner for the official cause of death. Richardson plead not guilty Friday, and her counsel, Charles Rittgers spoke to her admirable record as a normal high school student and cheerleader, telling reporters she was a “good student”.
“She didn’t drink. She wasn’t a partier or smoker,” Rittgers said. “By all measures, a very good girl who helped children… She’s by all means a very good person.”
Richardson’s intention will be key to adjudicating the severity of her penalty. If it is deemed that she truly believed the baby to be stillborn, her charge will stay under reckless homicide, which earns a sentence of up to five years. This is nothing compared to the life in prison she could face if it is determined she intentionally buried her baby alive.
Richardson was bonded from jail Friday and her preliminary haring has been set for Aug. 1st.
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